November 23, 2006

Farmland Protection Pioneer Retires From Senate

Sen. Noah W. Wenger (R-Lancaster/Chester) retired this week after serving 30 years in the Senate and House of Pennsylvania.

Sen. Wenger was the key architect of Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation law, which has permanently preserved over 1,500 farms in the Commonwealth, including 28,000 acres in Lancaster County. Pennsylvania is now the number one state in the nation for farmland preservation. He is also the owner of a 107-acre livestock and poultry farm.

In addition to serving as Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Appropriations Committees, Sen. Wenger served as a member and Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and as a member of the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council.

He is the recipient of many awards from organizations including from the Lancaster County Conservancy, the Lancaster Farmland Trust, the American Farmland Trust, the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts.

This video was aired on the floor of the Senate as a tribute to Sen. Wenger’s service to the Commonwealth. It was produced by Senate Republican Communications.

November 21, 2006

Leader of Brownfields Initiative Retires From Senate

Sen. David J. “Chip” Brightbill (R-Lebanon) retired this week from the Senate after 24 years of public service.

During his career, Sen. Brightbill served as chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and Majority Leader of the Senate where he was instrumental in passing legislation establishing Pennsylvania’s award-winning Land Recycling Program, adopting major changes to the state’s Air Pollution Control Act to comply with the federal Clean Air Act, creating the Small Water Systems Technical and Management Assistance Program and putting a $350 million water infrastructure bond issue on the ballot.

He was also helped add Pine Creek, the Yellow Breeches and Tulpehocken Creeks to the state’s Scenic Rivers System, create the Environmental Education Program and Fund, establish DEP’s Agricultural Advisory Board, require compensation for structures and the replacement of water supplies affected by underground coal mining and expanded environmental cleanup coverage under the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act, among other environmental legislation.

This video was aired on the floor of the Senate as a tribute to Sen. Brightbill’s service to the Commonwealth. It was produced by Senate Republican Communications.

November 21, 2006

U.S.G.S. Studies Pharmaceuticals in Ground and Surface Water

Dr. J. Kent Crawford, Water Quality Specialist for the Pennsylvania Water Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, was the guest presenter recently at an Environmental Forum hosted by the Joint Air & Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee.

He spoke about a water quality study the U.S.G.S. is conducting to determine if there are pharmaceutical compounds and physician-prescribed antibiotics in Pennsylvania’s waterways.

The first phase of the project, which was funded by the Department of Environmental Protection, looked for these compounds in groundwater in predominantly agricultural areas and downstream from wastewater treatment plants. A second phase of the project will look at these compounds in drinking water supplies.

David Hess, editor of PA Environmental Digest, caught up with Dr. Crawford after the presentation and talked to him about the results of this study and the results of other work U.S.G.S. is doing on the impact of pharmaceuticals on aquatic life, including the impacts they have on gender changes in fish.

Dr. Crawford, who has over 30 years of experience in a variety of water quality projects, can be contacted at 717-730-6909 or send email to: .

The Joint Conservation Committee is chaired by Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) and Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne) serves as vice-chairman.

November 20, 2006

November 16, 2006

Clifford L. Jones Receives PRC's Fox Calhoun Award

The Pennsylvania Resources Council has recognized the considerable contributions that Clifford L. Jones has made to protecting and restoring the environment in Pennsylvania by honoring him with the Fox Calhoun Award.

Cliff Jones is the personal embodiment of the idea that having good environmental and good economic policy are not opposing concepts.

He was not only Secretary of DER during the Three Mile Island Accident, but Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry, chairman of the Public Utility Commission, President of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, chair of the Republican State Committee and served on the boards of the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy, the Pennsylvania Audubon Society, Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation and is an original member of the advisory committee to the Wild Resources Conservation Fund.

In his spare time, Dr. Jones serves as an adjunct professor at Messiah College and Penn State University.

An avid birdwatcher, Dr. Jones has a lifetime bird list totaling 3,800 world sightings, 714 North America sightings and 350 world mammal sightings from his travels to 55 countries, 30 states and 8 Canadian provinces.


Video Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and JPL Productions

November 12, 2006

Rausch Creek Diversion Well Project

Every week for nearly 20 years, members of the Doc Fritchey Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Dauphin and Lebanon counties have been adding limestone to two diversion wells treating mine drainage entering Rausch Creek, a tributary to Stony Creek in Lebanon County.

And their work has paid off. In recent years they have seen streambred brook and brown trout in the stream where before even stocked trout didn't survive long.

Partners in the project include Pennsy Supply who donates the limestone and Reigel Trucking from Annville that delivers the limestone.

David Hess, Editor of PA Environmental Digest, went along with the "Diversion Well Gang" one Sunday to see how these dedicated volunteers keep our streams healthy. (And yes, it was raining!)

This was also the first diversion well project to treat acid mine drainage in the United States.

Today's Diversion Well Gang was: Larry Westhafer (co-chair of the Diversion Well Project), Steve Long, Gerry Miller, Chuck Hill, Dennis Coffman and Bob Pennell. Donald Thomas is the other co-chair for this project.

For more information on the Doc Fritchey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, visit:

November 12, 2006

November 8, 2006

29th Street GreenBelt Cleanup

PA CleanWays and the Capital Greenbelt Association lead a band of more than 30 volunteers in cleaning up a ravine next to Spring Creek and the Greenbelt along 29th Street in Harrisburg. Learn how they did it and how you can too!
The volunteers removed nearly 4 tons of trash including almost 200 car and truck tires and nearly 250 shopping carts.

Links: and

November 4, 2006